tv [untitled] April 15, 2013 3:30am-4:00am PDT
kind of have more oversight over. they're for the slightly larger projects where there are multiple approvals. my next question after that would be what makes it difficult for contractors to really just line up all of their permits in advance to prevent a scenario like that from happening? and then, of course, why can't we consolidate the permitting process? [laughter] >> i think the part that i can speak to right now and i'll ask mr. sanchez to address any more details about the permitting process, but the aspect i can speak to in term of why are we doing this, what's the problem, it's so few exemptions are actually appealed. it's really -- this is really not about the number of appeals at all. the problem isn't that appeals are filed. it is that there is always the
potential for an appeal to be filed and it is -- we are not able to convey to project sponsors at what point an appeal can or can't be filed because it needs to be determined by an attorney. in terms of the issue of first approval action versus final approval action and why that's problematic, every project has a first approval action. that is a clear and defined time frame for filing of appeals. appropriately, in order for any approval action to be happening, the ceqa document needs to be valid and legitimate and correct. then projects change over time, you know. there's always the example of once you get into there in the building, you're going to find new thing that need to happen,
new permits that need to be issued. and, so, once a project has moved past its first approval, it can go in a lot of different directions. so, we cannot clearly convey -- if you have an appeal period that is keyed off of a final approval action as it is now, that is the situation that makes it impossible for us to clearly convey when an appeal can and cannot be filed. that is why it is something that is an issue. >> yeah, i'm not going to speak to, you know, the legislation that we are introducing tomorrow that is now assigned to [speaker not understood], but i think we have an answer to that in terms of how you can close the window at the final approval. but i think the key thing is that you will be asking project sponsors to line up all of their permits and now if their project changes, then again, there is another window of opportunity that will [speaker not understood]. i think there are ways to address that. i think -- for me, i think when
you give out over 5,000 exemptions per year and maybe five gets heard at a hearing, then, you know, i start to question the problem that we're solving for. and i don't want to over exaggerate. i think what the problem is that with ceqa, i think the deadline is a real issue. we clearly need a deadline for exemptions and negative declarations, but making it more difficult for members of the community to participate in the process to me is not the answer. given the number in comparison to the number of exemptionses that we get that actually get appealed and heard by a board. >> if i can just -- i want to be really clear on one thing. you mentioned before a change in the building envelope in the middle of the project. if the building envelope changes, you're going to need to get a new cad ex. >> absolutely. >> so, that would trigger a new appeal period. to be very clear. >> if i said building envelope, i'm sorry. i meant when you get into the building, if you see that something needs to change. but as to that issue of a
change in -- a change in the project as it is described in the building permit and in the categorical exemption, that is something that needs to be -- that is now and would continue to be and i think would be strengthened under this ordinance needs to come back to the ero for review as to whether the environmental review was -- whether the existing environmental review document still covers the project. >> you know, i just want to also respond. in terms of -- yes, in an ideal world when you're doing a project, whether it's a park project or a home improvement project or a larger project, ideally it would be great just to pull all your permits on day one and be done with it, it's all god. that's not the reality of doing projects in the real world. ~ good people -- there are often a lot of reasons people don't pull every permit on day one or there might be the need to pull
a permit, even though it's perfectly within the scope of the project that was approved and within the ceqa clearance there's no change, but maybe they didn't realize they needed to pull a permit for x and turns out they do. so, there are many, many reasons why not all the permits are pulled on day one. and the question is is it a good idea to have a system where if you have full approval of the project after a public process and then you have to pull a permit in the middle of construction that was within the scope of that approval, that that triggers a full ceqa appeal of the entire project even the part this is' been built already to the board of supervisors. and i think that that is not a good way to make land use decisions in any city. president chiu. >> just to weigh in quickly on this discussion. i have to say i hear cases being made on both sides for final approval versus first approval and i'm not sure -- i
think there are some draw backs with both approaches and i'm trying to think through if there is something that can be done to strengthen one or the other. i think supervisor wiener has laid out the problem of final approval, one, we may not know what the final approval is. and two, the park situation you just arose, that is the edge case and i think we have seen time after time. on the other hand with the very first approval and supervisor wiener allude today this, when projects change, it concerns folks. [speaker not understood] address that situation and what type of a change, what sort of substantial change might trigger additional approval that could lead to another appeal. and this is something i'm thinking b. i want to articulate it so we can think about it collectively. >> the ero is actually in some ways not a state officer, but we have to have ero delegated the authority from ceqa of the state to make these determinations.
and, so, ceqa in a way determines, of course, a applied by the ero whether a change is such that it's a project that needs a new environmental clearance and thus triggers a new appeal period. again, in projects whether it's home projects or public projects, you can imagine many, many, many very, very small changes that might come up in the midst of it and go back and it either is -- requires a new ceqa clearance or it doesn't. and, so, we did think about that. is there a way -- we tried -- we did include extra language to require the ero to make sure you're determining whether it's -- requires a new ceqa clearance. i think it's challenging to sort of envision all the different scenarios, but that's certainly something to think about. >> we do -- the ceqa appeals that come in and, you know, everyone sitting up here is very familiar with them.
they are not -- we do not see the point raised that this exemption was fine in the first place and then the project changed and now it's not fine any more. that's not -- you know, that's not the point that gets raised on ceqa appeals. furthermore, if a project gets changed and a new building permit is issued, even if that's within the old exemption it's still appealable to the board of permit appeals which is the appropriate appeal authority for whether a building permit was issued appropriately. so, that appeal right is still part of things. speaking as administrator and as ero, i am -- i'm very open and welcome any language that strengthens the assurance that a changed project comes back for redetermination by the ero. that is what happens now and
that is what we would want to see happen. if a project comes -- if a project rises to the level of coming back to planning, it should come back to the ero to make sure that the environmental review is still appropriate. >> okay, thank you. so, colleagues, if there are no more questions, why don't we go to public comment. thank you, ms. jones. >> thank you. >> so, we'll now open it up to public comment. public comment will be two minutes. when you have 30 seconds left, there will be a soft bell. when you're two minutes is up, there will be a louder bell. yes. >> if i could just make one comment. i have received hundreds of e-mails the last few weeks on this topic on both sides. and frankly a lot of the e-mails and communications i've got have been i think etiologically based might be a strong word. folks hate what one, my colleagues have put out, what i find would be helpful is specific comments addressing specific issues with legislation as opposed to sort
of i hate this or i love that. the more we can sort of boil this down into specific issues and specific solutions, i think that will help certainly me and hopefully my colleagues figure out the best way to move forward on that. i just want to say at the outset that is what i will be listening for. >> thank you. i think of course it's always important for people to be specific. but there is also -- and this is on both sides. i think there are -- in addition to the specifics, i think that there are people who have a great frustration in general with how ceqa applies and its impacts on projects in the community that are broad in nature. in addition to the fact i think there are people opposed to this legislation who have a generalized frustration about not knowing enough, believing that they don't have enough opportunity to object. i'm all for specifics, but i also don't want to downgrade the more general views about how land use happens in the city and the perceptions on
both sides because i think that those are valid as well. >> i'm sure we'll hear a lot of that today. >> so, okay. i will call a number of speakers, and you can line up. you don't have to go in the exact order that i call you. christin ham son. pat scott. francisco dee costa. howard wong. sally stevens. steve seltzer. po bronson. tess well born. [speaker not understood]. espinola jackson. [speaker not understood]. paul page. leah [speaker not understood]. and george wedding. welcome. thank you. >> you can go ahead. okay, all right. hi, i am christin ham son and i'd like to thank you for having me here today, supervisors. ~ obviously this is an important
law. i also believe that the reforms that are being considered today are very important as well. i was asked to share a little bit about our family's story. i'm here to talk about one of those home remodel projects that came up against the ceqa process as they are implemented today in san francisco. and, so, i'm here to talk about some of the real impacts to real families. i can sense there is concern in the room about some of the changes that are being considered, but i hope that our story might help people think about some of the impacts and the way ceqa is implemented currently as well. we did a home remodel project. it took us about 2-1/2 years to get through the full approval process. we went through mediation, the planning commission, and the board of appeals. and that was the first year and a half. once we did all of that and we were approved at the board of
appeals, our opposition triggered ceqa at that point in time. we didn't expect that that was going to happen. we knew it was the remote possibility, but they did in fact trigger it, it was consecutive and it followed after all the other appeal processes that occurred. ceqa was by far the longest most unpredictable, most stressful and most costly part of the process for us. and i don't know whether the reforms being considered today will [speaker not understood] addressing situations like that confronted by our family, but it might be a good start. anything that would compress the ceqa process, make it more transparent and allow people like us embarking on remodel have a better sense of what we're going to be up against from the very outset would be a lot better. we might have been able to decide earlier what decisions we needed to make, what costs were involved, and [inaudible]. >> thank you. thank you very much. next speaker.
francisco de costa. supervisors, this is a very important topic. and as you see, when we come here for the meetings, you three supervisors at the podium have had your say and i don't think any one of y'all are land use experts. and, so, with your comments, you have convoluted this issue. and ton top of that, one already had the audacity to tell us what we should speak to you about. let me tell you, for 45 years i've been reviewing e-i-rs and i'm pretty well attuned to ceqa. now, in our planning department we have a system. the planning director stated that.
you've heard those comments. unless we can connect the dots from our ero and we the community, especially the bayview community, again and again and again have been shafted by the supervisors. ceqa came about from the light of the e-i-r going way back in 1969. some of y'all were toddlers. yet we the advocates who come to the meetings and have to suffer, as we did today, out of no respect for seniors who have to sit there for 45 minutes and that is the point i want to make. we do not need any amendments. because the amendments are not coming from the right place. one of y'all doesn't have the
heart to represent the community. thank you very much. >> thank you. (applause) >> actually -- okay, a couple things. first of all, under our board rules, we request the members of the public not make audible either booses or clapping. ~ if you want to do a thumbs up or thumbs down, feel free to do that. also i should have noted earlier, if there is anyone who because of the disability or other need physically needs to go early, even if i haven't called you, let us know and we will accommodate you. [speaker not understood]. thank you, supervisor. you have a copy of my letter in front of you. i would like to make comments about one particular negative declaration that shows the need for a change. and will be addressed [speaker not understood] supervisor
kim's legislation that we'll be seeing tomorrow. on october 24th of 2012, there was an e-i-r filed for no more than 5,000 square foot ground disturbance at 789 frederic street. in fact, more than 16,000 square feet were disturbed so there was a deception there on the part of rec and park. and there were potentially hazardous materials at that site. and nothing was done about that. so not only are there issues about why that was given a negative declaration, but there is no follow through on saying you blew it. and that's one of the very frustrating things about this, too. so, besides the permits that are going through this process, once decisions are made, where is the teeth? here's something that rec and park did that has not --
[speaker not understood]. i would say, too, that permission that was given at whole foods on stanyan, that were conditions that were not upheld. so, [speaker not understood] supervisor wiener was drafted at ceqa and not discussed. supervisor kim's legislation was drafted in public and now is being continued in public. when notice is given it needs to be pushed out to the public. we do not need to go to the website and have to search for information. we need 60 days on large projects. thank you. >> next speaker. howard wong speaking for san francisco tomorrow. first, we'd like to see supervisor kim's proposed legislation fully considered before adopting any measure before you. the ceqa process, as you know,
is a very difficult to understand even for elected officials. but for the average citizen it's almost incomprehensible. the changes that occur in a project are a great multitude of changes. as an architect, i have seen critical path schedules which are very complex. ceqa is often a very small part of the very complex project. we also don't always appreciate that even planning professional are not always accurate. a project can be defined in such a way that easily is misunderstood by the project provided by the public. look at 110 embarcadaro where an historic building was to be demolished because the address of 110 embarcadaro and not 113 stuart which is on the other side of the building by which it was known.
an historic resource where long shore men had their headquarters during the great general strike of the 1930s. the cpmc project, look at the evolution of that project or americas cup and its evolution. many houses change dramatically, many houses which are historic resources are not even identified by planning staff at the counter because for whatever reason they don't have the databases or the knowledge about what the buildings constitute. it's complex enough for legislators and architects to understand [speaker not understood]. you need time. you need time for people to [speaker not understood] and react. >> thank you. mr. wooding. good afternoon, supervisors. is this on? >> now it's on. good afternoon, supervisors.
my name is george wooding, 120 central council coalition for san francisco neighborhoods. i wanted to say quickly that many neighborhood groups do not support what scott wiener has been representing. the groups he mentioned are just about a small fraction of what san francisco neighborhoods are all about. i think one of the problems here is [speaker not understood] amendments, supervisor wiener's legislation has been a moving target and many people cannot keep up with it. jane kim is introducing legislation tomorrow. people by right would like to see both side by side compared and would like to look at this and [speaker not understood] the best part for both pieces of legislation could be combined . i think that would be a fair thing for the public to look at as this has been a difficult
process and a quick process, and as howard wong said earlier, ~ people don't get it. i'm going to bring up what i think was extremely unfair categorical exemption. it's, the soccer field in golden gate park were listed under different lot numbers and they were supposed to be supposedly nothing more than another grass hill. turned out it was going to be a thousand-seat stadium with lighting. this was all found out by nancy warfol. so, i appreciate what she has done and you can see that this process can be abused. i think when i talk to citizens, they're very worried that a project after it has gone through the ceqa process will be changed. this gives people the right to sugar coat a project and then after the project is approved, they would then go ahead and change it. thank you very much.
>> thank you, mr. wooding. ms. jackson. dr. espinola jackson, [speaker not understood] bayview hunters point, san francisco. i would like to say that, supervisor kim, i agree with a lot of questions that you were raising, but one of the things i think all of you should do is look at how city planning was being run 20 years ago. i've lived here in san francisco for 70 years. i've been voting for 55 years. all right. so, that's a long time. and the thing of it is that those of us, the citizens of san francisco whom you are supposed to represent -- not what your ideas are, but what are the citizens' ideas, what do the citizens want. and this is not being done. and i'd like to say i'm very disappointed that we don't have
anyone from district 10 because that's the largest area of land use to be carried out. it's over 800 acres of land with the shipyard. and with the sewage plant. aim very concerned about how we have been shafted. you all shafted us before. and what happened, we had to get a lawyer. we shouldn't have to get a lawyer because of ceqa. we should thev have to get a lawyer because you vote on something that you should not be voting on because of big development. and i am getting tired of hearing about development and not about the people of san francisco. thank you. >> thank you, ms. jackson. ms. stevens. say what? >> i'm calling the next speaker. hi, my name is [speaker not understood] stevens, i live in the golden gates neighborhood association. our association represents about 500 household in the west of twin peak center [speaker not understood] part of the
city. our neighborhoods primarily owner occupied single-family houses. for many of us our only action with ceqa is one to make changes or additions to our house. right now the process is just complicated. people don't know what's going on. there is disagreement about that. supervisor wiener's legislation will create an open predictable process to resolve these disputes. it will make it easy for everyday people, not just attorneys to understand the deadlines. it will make the ceqa process open and more clear for the little guys in san francisco, the homeowners who want to make small, important to the home owner improvements to their home. we therefore support supervisor wiener's legislation. by contrast, we're concerned that supervisor kim's legislation might have a negative impact on our members because nearly all the homes in golden gate heights are more than 50 years old. according to supervisor kim's proposal as i understand t the over the counter permits that our members currently can get for minor projects, for example, you know, replacing a
broken handrail, windows, leaky roof, that sort of things, would no longer be allowed. this would add months of delay to a home remodel project upwards of $500,000 or more to obtain a categorical exemption certificate they would need to continue with what is essentially a minor project. home repair. we think that her legislation will make it more difficult for our members to make the kind of home -- minor home repairs and remodels that we need to enhance our homes and protect our investments in them. we therefore oppose supervisor kim's alternative legislation and support the legislation of supervisor wiener. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. steve seltzer, united public workers for action. it is interesting that this so kayedv reform being proposed is also coming alongside governor brown's attack on ceqa because that's what this idea of reform is. ~ it's to dee regulate land use and make it cheaper and more profitable for the developers.
that's really what's drive thing and that's what's been driving our big chairperson here who says he's interested in good government. i think that's a laugh because i was at a park merced hearing where i saw your good government. the city attorney came in with documents from the developer and said that was the legal [speaker not understood] of the city. is that good government when you take the developer's legal opinions paid for by the developer? i think this really is a fraud. i think that it shows actually that what's going on is the bully -- the people of san francisco, the community for the projects of the developers, and i have to say that we have a case where the supervisors, all the supervisors just voted for $750,000 settlement for dr. derek kerr because he was bullied, as have been the planners in the city department, senior developers were bullied out of the department [speaker not understood]. where is your concern of good government when you're voting millions of dollars for retaliation suits [speaker not understood] by the workers of
san francisco, public workers who oppose the corruption? because that's really what's going on i think in san francisco at this point. workers, public workers are being bullied. they're being told go along with the corruption, go along with the scams that are being put forward. and that is a clearly the case in the park merced where you violated the sunshine agreement to push through new amendments without public comment, violating. instead of dealing with that you get rid of the sunshine commission. you refuse to employ people in the sunshine commission. it is clear corruption, [speaker not understood]. >> before we get to the next speaker, i have a question for the city attorney. supervisor kim, her legislation, which i understand will be introduced tomorrow, has been mentioned obliquely or directly a few times. can i get a clarification since
that is not on the agenda today, what we as a committee can say or not say with respect to it and what members of the public -- i just want to make sure that -- [multiple voices] >> please come to order. [gavel] >> mr. givener. >> john givener, deputy city attorney. the committee and members of the public can discuss the legislation that is being considered by the committee today. of course, supervisor kim's legislation is closely related, deals with the same topic. so, it's perfectly fair for a member of the public or committee member to mention ideas in supervisor kim's legislation as a counter point or suggestion for amendments to this legislation. >> okay. i think that's very important. i'm glad to hear that. i think some people may have thought otherwise. so, just to be clear, we are allowed to talk about supervisor kim's legislation da